Snappy dialogue and the threat of real danger sucked me in, but then the story fizzled out and left me wanting.
Leslie Petruso moves to Virgin River after her husband left her for another woman and then insisted that he and Leslie can still be the best of friends. Sick of running into him and his pregnant wife everywhere, she moves south and gets a job in a construction company.
Conner Danson is the sole witness to a murder committed by a man with big-time connections. When his building supply store is burnt to the ground, the Sacramento DA’s office decides it’s time to send him off-grid until he testifies. What better place than Virgin River?
Neither Leslie nor Conner is eager to start a new relationship. But they can’t deny their attraction, and as they spend more time together they realize their relationship is worth making sacrifices for.
For most of the story, I enjoyed the characters’ snappy dialogue and grown-up attitude toward love and sex. They never take a melodramatic “I shall never love again!” approach to life, but they certainly are wary of getting involved.
While there were a couple of points when I thought “People in their mid-thirties don’t sound like that,” for the most part I liked the honest way they speak to each other. This scene, after Leslie sprays her ex-husband with a fire extinguisher to get him to leave, combines both my worry about the unnatural language and my appreciation for the open way they talk to each other. Conner tells her:
“There’s something I thought you’d want to know–I don’t think it’ll be a problem for you, but Paul told me and Jack that the guy who came to the trailer today was your ex and that you shot him with the fire extinguisher.”
“Swell,” she said.
“Jack was impressed. Paul didn’t give any more personal details and I didn’t let on that I knew anything. But jeez, Les, it really made me want to be a chick.”
She lifted her eyebrows. “How so?”
“That was awesome. A guy couldn’t get away with that. I wish I could’ve hosed down my ex, but I had some serious training in how women had to be treated, even if they were very bad.”
Maybe I’m being picky, but do 32-year-old women say “Swell”? I’m 32 and I’ve only used it to make fun of my mother, but I accept that I might not be typical. I wouldn’t point it out except that it happened in a few places and jarred me from the story.
Conner moves to Virgin River because there’s a serious threat against his life. I kept waiting for danger to arrive in Virgin River, but it never did. The conflict fizzles around two-thirds of the way through, leaving the characters to spend a lot of time thinking about how perfect the town is. At points, the romance shifted to feel like it was more about the author’s love for the town than about Conner and Leslie’s love for each other. But this is my first Virgin River novel, so fans of the series probably won’t find it jarring.
Overall, I liked the characters, but when I finished Hidden Summit I felt there was so much it didn’t deliver. It left me wanting more, and not in a good way.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Heat: 4 (hot)